Wednesday, June 20, 2007

FEC nominee accused of blocking voting rights investigations

Hans von Spakovsky, recess appointed by George Bush to be a member of the Federal Elections Commission, has been accused of preventing career Justice employees from bringing suits or investigating allegations of voter discrimination.

A former Justice Department political appointee blocked career lawyers from filing at least three lawsuits charging local and county governments with violating the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities, seven former senior department employees charged Monday.

Hans von Spakovsky also derailed at least two investigations into possible voter discrimination, the former employees of the Voting Rights Section said in interviews and in a letter to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. They urged the panel to reject von Spakovsky's nomination to the Federal Election Commission.

This is the flip side of the accusation that U.S. attorneys at the Justice Department were being coerced into investigating "voter fraud" and were actively involved in voter suppression.

The FEC is responsible for enforcing the nation's campaign finance laws.

Three members were recess appointed by Bush in 2006. Spakovsky, Steven Walther and Robert Lenhard, who fought to overturn McCain-Feingold. The terms of the other members have officially expired.

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